Chef Morimoto signing bottles

It may not surprise you, but one of my favorite episodes of Iron Chef America is “Battle: Beer“. Not only is beer a great compliment to many cuisines, but it is also an excellent ingredient in many dishes. Needless to say, a show focusing on beer makes for an interesting episode. Around the time this episode first aired, Rogue Brewery released Morimoto Soba Ale, created in a partnership with the Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto. I was interested in what the Iron Chef of both Japanese and American television would bring to the craft beer world, so I had to try it out.

With a scant 4.8 percent alcohol by volume and a hazy golden color, I was expecting this to be a very Japanese-styled beer. It was as reasonably priced as most other Rogue beers, around $6. I had not noticed this variety in the lengthy lineup of Rogues at my local brew-shop, but it did come recommended. After a quick chill, I set to work.

The first thing I noticed was how little head it produced. Not for under-carbonation, but it just didn’t seem to produce any lasting bubbles. Despite this, a strong aroma of wheat came easily. The roasted soba used as a malt in this ale is a kind of Japanese buckwheat, used most often in noodles. The aroma was uniquely complex, giving notes of nutty, buttery malt and grassy hops.

I gave it a taste, and was pleasantly surprised by the relative hoppy flavor compared to most Japanese beers. There was a distinct taste of biscuit-like yeast and the cascade hops. After a few sips and a bit of a warm-up, I started to get the toasty hint of the roasted soba, almost like a “whole-grain” beer.

Rogue, ever thorough, recommends pairing this with light cuisine like chicken or fish. I couldn’t agree more, because all I could think about while drinking this was how terrifically some sashimi would have complimented my beverage.

What was overtly interesting about this particular brew was just how distinct the flavors were. There was nothing masquerading as vanilla, or chocolate, or coffee, just all of the ingredients as fresh and unique as Mother Nature made them. In a way, this was very indicative of the Iron Chef himself, using the natural, simple flavors of high-quality ingredients to create a unique experience. It may take a bit of tasting to come around, but this beer was really what a good, honest beer should be. Give this one a try the next time you are in the mood for a very Zen-like beer experience, compliments of an outstanding chief.


View this article at The NB Citizen